UK Charity Commission Inquiry: Christ Embassy has satisfactorily resolved past financial issues
Christ Embassy has taken commendable steps to address past financial management issues and has demonstrated a commitment to the responsible financial future of the charity according to a report issued by the UK Charity Commission.
The UK Charity Commission has released its report detailing the six-year inquiry into the Christ Embassy religious charitable organization. The findings reveal that Christ Embassy has satisfactorily resolved identified issues related to the administration and governance of the charity.
The report concluded that Christ Embassy has made significant progress towards addressing management and oversight matters that potentially put the organization at risk. The appointment of a new board of trustees in 2016 demonstrates their commitment to the responsible administration of the charity going forward. The Commission currently lists Christ Embassy’s compliance status as up-to-date.
Christ Embassy is led by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, a popular Nigerian evangelical leader. There are currently 90 Christ Embassy churches operated by the charity across the United Kingdom with a congregation of over 5,000 members. The Christ Embassy religious community continues to grow in the United Kingdom. Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and Christ Embassy hosted a sold-out World Evangelism Conference attended by thousands of religious leaders from around the world in London in August 2019.
According to the filings with the Charity Commission, the aims and activities of Christ Embassy within the UK and the rest of the world include: the advancement of Christianity & education in accordance with Christian principles; offering assistance to persons in conditions of need and hardship; the establishment and provision of places of worship for fellowship of evangelical Christians from which they can advance the Christian faith; the use of books, internet & television to spread the Christian faith.
Charity Commission inquiry into Christ Embassy
The UK Charity Commission opened an investigation into Christ Embassy on July 29, 2013, after questions were raised about the charity’s use of funds and the governing policies of its board of trustees. The inquiry aimed to resolve issues surrounding transactions between the charity and partner entities that included grants made to Christ Embassy’s related operations such as the Loveworld Television Ministry, the International School of Ministry and other branches of Christ Embassy worldwide.
The investigation also sought to determine whether or not the charity’s trustees had complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law. The report notes that during the investigation, Christ Embassy cooperated with all requests of the Commission and made a full commitment to improving on any failings that the inquiry uncovered.
Christ Embassy acknowledges and resolves financial matters
According to the report, the inquiry found a lack of formal contracts or appropriate record-keeping and a lack of evidence of proper decision-making or of conflicts of interest being appropriately managed. The Commission and Christ Embassy acknowledged these issues and set forth on a path to work together to resolve them as to not put the charity at further financial risk and to ensure that all financial matters adhered to relevant UK laws.
The Commission appointed an interim manager to improve financial decision-making policies and ensure that the charity was in full compliance with UK charity law. The interim manager appointed by the Charity Commission was employed at the expense of Christ Embassy. In total, the charity paid £1.5 million in fees to the interim manager. The interim manager was relieved of his duties once it was deemed that the organization’s issues were satisfactorily resolved. Christ Embassy’s new board of trustees has assumed the entire financial management of the organization.
Commission applauds Christ Embassy’s efforts
According to Amy Spiller, Head of Investigations Team at the Charity Commission, “This was a complex inquiry that unveiled numerous failings by those running Christ Embassy over a number of years, which exposed the charity to undue risk. I am pleased that these issues have been resolved and that the new board of trustees has shown a clear commitment to move the charity forward responsibly.”
“Those running a charity should always be guided by their charitable purpose,” she added. “Trustees have an important responsibility to ensure that they act in the best interests of their charity at all times, and take care to safeguard their charity’s assets. Our guidance around governance arrangements is there to help trustees ensure they do just that.”
Christ Embassy addresses matters related to its board of trustees In its response to the Charity Commissions report, Christ Embassy and Pastor Chris reiterated the fact that the previous trustees were volunteers whose dedication was instrumental in helping to grow the charity since its inception and that no former trustees personally profited from their role within the charity. These individuals, who it must be noted are primarily clergymen and women and not fulltime business administrators, devoted an enormous amount of time and effort to further the good works of Christ Embassy. They had best interests at heart and repeatedly put the needs of Christ Embassy and its congregants before their own. While some clerical and administrative mistakes may have been made, Christ Embassy has committed to seeing that these errors, which were of form rather than substance, have been corrected and will not be made again.
Christ Embassy, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome and the UK Charity Commission are pleased that the inquiry has been closed and that all issues have been adequately resolved. The church will continue to pursue its mission to serve the needs of Christians across the UK and around the world.